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Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Why on earth are players not finishing games?

In Not so random posts on September 27, 2011 at 11:35 PM

   You might know that the once non-mainstream video gaming 3 decades ago is blooming wild and running abreast with the great movie and music industries. What you might not know is that how many gamers persevere to finish games.

As a matter of fact, the rate of non-finishing games is gruesomely high. An long-time collaborator with Activision, Keith Fuller, mentioned, “Roughly 90% of players can’t persevere to the end of games. Instead they opt to watch game ending scence on Youtube”. According to John Lee, the game-finishing rate 10 years ago was only 20 percent. You might think that the widely acclaimed “Red Dead Redemption” deserves playing all the way through, but over 2300 survey data indicated only 10 percent of players managed to complete the last mission. In other words, only one out of ten players could hang in there tough to finish the game of the year.

How could this be? Are great games still not worth finishing? Are players becoming impatient and insatiable? Who is this to blame? Game developers or players? Or it all comes down to cultural differences?

The answer is….all of the above.

Aging Old-Timers

On one hand, we have old-time players who are aging. In the beginning of the 21st century, the average age of players is nearing 30. This means these players no longer have time at their hand to fondle with vidoe games. As of now, sources from Entertainment Software Association showed that the average age of players has climbed to 37; frequent purchasers of games averagely age at 41. These groups of aging players either started a family or were in middle of their career prime, or even started worrying about retirement. “Time” for video game play for these people has become preciously unattainable.

Not only does time become precious commodity, nowadays people only have a quite limited time for concentration, according to Jeremy Airey (Konami US product department manager). People have been endowed more choices over mobile technology and other digital products. They start their day with facebook, use twitter at work, play with smartphone, compose a blog, and then realize there are unfinished business with some video games. This means games that require longer play time will be given up by players. Red Dead Redemption requires 30 hr play time and not so many players are willing to invest that much time, even on a game of the year title.

Supply OVER demand

As sidekick to the ever-blossoming video game industry, more titles are released by game developers and this further dissipates players’ attention span and willingness to focus on a certain game. With more choices, players’ time spent on playing a certain game has to dwindle. Back in the old days, players had more time and a lot fewer titles to choose from. This phenomonon has changed game developers’ thoughts as well. New game companies wil think twice before investing in epic or tripple A titles because it is too costly and players will not necessarily do justice to playing it through.

Gigantic increment in online game players

One possible lead to the growth in online gaming is because of the shortened gameplay of single player games and low quality games had in turn pushed players into online multiplayer game play. For instance, “Call of Duty: Black Ops”, “Halo” and “Infamous 2” all had a large body of fans who zealously engage in online multiplayer mode. Nonetheless, some may object by saying that game play habits are context-based. Game play habit varies in accordance with player’s life style and game preference. As opposed to playing “Zelda” which requires long hours of game play, players now prefer mini-games that they can play and drop when they feel like it.

Games in the future? They will be shorter

In sum, people now spend less time on gaming. They have a lot more choices. They tend to play multiplayer games that offer instant gratification, social interaction, and fun playing with others and they don’t care if they had spent ober 100 hours playing them. Is that going to be a problem? Not at all, acoording to Fuller, “if players can spend 20 or 30 more hours playing games, it would be a blessing”. Steinberg also concurred by stating, “killing the final boss or saving the princess doesn’t amount to everything about being a gamer.”

With playing video games, a game addict, Casey Willis fittingly put it this way, “No matter what, as long as a game is worth my money and time, I will be satisfied. It is way better to play 10 hours on a good game than 20 hours on a crappy game”.

I concur. What do you (if you are by chance a gamer) think?

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